Having spent the evening at the Albert Hall rather than White Hart Lane last night and with Sky Sports deciding to screen Barnsley v Manchester United reserves, my impression of this game, is largely based on other people’s impressions.

By all accounts Bentley had a good game, as did Gareth Bale. With Lennon possibly out against Arsenal, Bentley is likely to deputise, while Bale provides out and out width on the left side, that neither Kranjcar or Modric can offer.

In central midfield I was surprised that Huddlestone started before Jenas, given the latter’s bright cameo against Stoke. The Hudd took his goal beautifully though. That was a demonstration of real technique and makes you wish that he had the engine to get himself into the box more often.

By all accounts Pavlyuchenko was fairly quiet, as was Keane, despite scoring a goal. The fact that our skipper missed his penalty before eventually converting from the resulting goalmouth scramble, demonstrates his lack of confidence. The shuffle he performed before striking the ball summed up the fact that it seems as if Keane is over-thinking his every move.

I was pleased to see Michael Dawson singled out as our top performer on a couple of sites. Sometimes I’ve thought that Dawson only plays really well with a King or a Woodgate alongside him, but flounders a bit when he’s the senior partner. Maybe that was only true when he played alongside Younes Kaboul. To be fair, Bassong is hardly a jittery debutant and always looks pretty solid. Much as I’d like to see King and Woodgate fit against the Arse, I’d be perfectly happy for Dawson and Bassong to pair up.

This could have been a tricky one, especially following our defeat against Stoke, so it’s good to bounce back before ‘the big one’. There’s some big teams left in this competition, but it’s probably our most realistic chance of winning something this season, with the FA Cup being taken more seriously. Let’s hope that the boys at Soccer Saturday give us Portsmouth at home in the quarters.



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